What prevents us from feeling peace in our lives? The anxiety and worry, the regret, the pain, and the longing for something you do not have all rob you of peace and happiness. All of these take a toll on your heart and your mind, leaving you with frustration instead of joy. Finding how to end these negative mindsets and feelings will help you find inner peace, and one path there is through gratitude.
There are plenty of times in our lives when it feels like there is nothing for which you can be grateful. Everything seems to be going wrong, and you are so tired of feeling beat down all the time. And when you find yourself asking, “Why is this happening to me?” then you are ready for a shift in perspective. Instead of focusing only on what is wrong in your life, that is the perfect moment to figure out all that is right, instead.
The Connection Between Peace and Gratitude
When you think about the things you have lost, do not have, or can’t have, you automatically create a tension in your brain that results in unrest and unease. This focus on deficit causes you to feel lacking, which your mind translates into a need that must be addressed. When you focus, instead, on the things you have and what is positive in your life, your mind is at rest.
Learning to appreciate what you have helps you to be more patient with others and with life because you realize that you have much and that there is more to come. When you regularly focus on appreciating what you have, you feel like you need less, you can wait longer for a perceived benefit, and you are more likely to want to give to others rather than keep what you have for yourself.
How to Practice Daily Gratitude
If you are interested in cultivating a gratitude practice, there are many simple ways to incorporate this focus into your daily routine. Here are just a few that have worked for other people.
• Try a mindful breathing exercise. Sit quietly and take deep breaths. Be thankful for your ability to breathe in and out each time. Focus on how each breath affects your body and makes you feel.
• Each morning lay in bed or sit quietly and think of five things for which you are grateful. It only takes a few minutes, but it starts your day off on a positive note and helps you generate an optimistic mindset for the day ahead.
• Thank someone in your life. Be sure to acknowledge the large and small things that people do to help you. Whether it is a stranger or your partner, saying “thank you” and telling others why you appreciate them can have a powerful influence on you as well as them.
• Stop and look around you. Take notice of the beauty of the day, how the natural world enhances your life, or how the sun’s warmth makes you feel. Listen to the wind or birds, smell the flowers or fresh air, and feel the grass between your toes. Be thankful for what the world offers to you each day.
• Before going to bed each night, take a few minutes to reflect on your appreciation for the day. What were your blessings or gifts? What is going well in your life? What are you most grateful for at this time?
Feelings of gratitude help you to feel that you have enough in your life, that your world is full of positive things and people, and that you are fulfilled. All of this helps you feel at peace with the world and within yourself. And once you achieve inner peace, it is easier to tackle the obstacles, barriers, and struggles of daily life. Start today to develop your gratitude practice to experience your own inner peace.